Running Marathons Reduces ‘Age of Arteries’

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( — January 12, 2020) — Marathon preparation and running improves the health of the arteries, while also reducing their “vascular” age by about five years, a new study says, BBC reports.

Researches from Barts University and London University College have tested 138 new runners who were preparing for the London Marathon. During training that lasted six months, their arteries regained some youthful elasticity, reducing the risk of heart attacks and stroke.

Also, their blood pressure dropped as though heart pills had been prescribed. Those who were previously in the weakest condition seem to have benefited the most.

According to data from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which funded the research, even small amounts of exercise would most likely have the same effect.

It took runners between four and a half and five and a half hours to run an average of 26 miles.

It is a known “fact” that runners with existing but undiagnosed heart conditions were dying trying to run a marathon – but such cases are truly rare. “People with known heart disease or other medical conditions should speak to a doctor first,” said Charlotte Meniste, lead researcher at the project. But for most people, the benefits of exercise far outweigh any risks, Menistre said.

To maintain the health and fitness of the body adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercises such as walking, doubles tennis or cycling and 75 minutes of high intensity exercise, such as running, football or rugby, the report says.

The report also sugests push-ups, sit-ups or lifting and carrying – at least two times a week to give muscles a good workout.
“Keeping active reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke and cuts your chances of an early death,” BHF’s Prof Metin Avkiran said.

“As the old mantra goes, ‘If exercise were a pill, it would be hailed as a wonder drug,” he concluded.